Catching up with Youth Orchestras of Fresno’s musical alumni

Posted on: June 1, 2016

“As the Youth Orchestras of Fresno celebrates its 65th anniversary Sunday with a big bash at the Saroyan Theatre, I was reminded by executive director Julie Copeland how many illustrious alumni the organization has produced over the years,” writes Donald Munro in Saturday’s (5/28) Fresno Bee (California). “Copeland put out a call for alums to update folks on their careers. Here are some who shared.” Christopher Barrett, 2000-20004, plays tuba and runs a band called Phaze Theory and an international collective called PTC. Michael Downing, 1997-2002, is currently percussionist with the Sacramento Symphony, Stockton Symphony, and Tulare County Symphony, and percussion professor at Fresno Pacific University. Justin Emerich, 1990s, plays trumpet with major orchestras throughout the U.S. Richard Giddens, 1995-1998, plays bass on a wide variety of music and is professor at Fresno State University. Eric Gratz, 2000s, is in his third season as concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Paloma Griffin Hebert, 1984-1990, is a former assistant concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony and member of Pink Martini, and plays with the modern classical ensemble Fear No Music. Walter Haman, 1987-1991, is a cellist with the Utah Symphony and principal cellist of Chicago’s Grant Park Orchestra. In addition, many of the youth orchestra’s alumni play in the Fresno Philharmonic.

Posted June 1, 2016